The Professional

Movie review by
Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
The Professional Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Stylish, mature hitman thriller is quite violent.
  • R
  • 1994
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters on both sides of the law engage in criminal or immoral behavior, including killing, drug dealing, and mob activity. The main character, a hitman, is portrayed as an otherwise caring soul who tries to rise to the challenge when he must protect a little girl. Law-enforcement characters are portrayed as crooked and more morally bankrupt than the film's criminals.


Graphic violence throughout, including murder, shooting, explosions. A knife is held to a man's throat; people have guns pointed at them or held to them. A man who's been badly wounded in a shootout launches grenades strapped to his body, causing a massive explosion that kills both him and his nemesis. A little girl is abused (slapped, hit) by members of her family. She is seen with a black eye and a bloody nose. While standing in the shower, a man stitches up a bloody wound on his chest.


At times there's a rather creepy undercurrent of sexual chemistry between a grown man and a young girl. When a hotel desk clerk asks her about her male guardian, she lies, saying, "He's my lover."


Many uses of words like "f--k," ass, and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Various characters drink, smoke, and take drugs. Kilos of cocaine are shown. A 12-year-old girl is seen smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action thriller includes some scenes of extreme violence, including one in which a family -- including a 4-year-old boy -- is brutally gunned down in their home. There are also explosions, abuse (of a 12-year-old), and more. The 12-year-old girl develops an unusual relationship with a much older hitman (who teaches her his trade); there's an undercurrent of chemistry between them. Strong language includes "f--k" and "bitch"; characters also drink and smoke.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byan adult May 25, 2019

sex scene

the dad of the girl (matilda) touches his girlfriend 's breast, and in the next scene matilda sees his dad about to have sex with her in the bathroom , no... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 and 6-year-old Written byKvothe the Ruh March 31, 2019


It shows a mans love for an orphaned girl, and it tells everyone that no ones perfect.
Kid, 12 years old May 20, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byruben226 September 22, 2019

Super cool hit man movie is also complex

I think this film overall is pretty good, even though it can be slow at times. The relationship between Leon and mathilda is very interesting, and the violence... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE PROFESSIONAL, reclusive New York City hitman Leon (Jean Reno) lets his nurturing side come out after rescuing 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman). Leon, who has lived like a hermit for years, discovers a strong paternal instinct when he takes the girl in. Mathilda's abusive upbringing has hardened her to violence and forced her to grow up fast, yet she's still youthful enough to love dress-up games and puppet shows. But his young charge often seems more worldly and calculating than her surrogate father figure. In fact, Mathilda makes a deal with Leon: He'll teach her how to be an assassin, and she'll take care of all the housekeeping duties. Their life includes everyday activities like cooking and cleaning, as well as lessons in firing a sniper rifle from a rooftop. Their mutual goal? Revenge against a group of thugs who performed a vicious act of violence against Mathilda's family.

Is it any good?

Jean Reno is quietly menacing in his hit man mode and awkwardly affectionate in his father-figure role. Leon lavishes TLC on his cherished houseplant; every day he carefully waters it, polishes its leaves, and arranges it just so on a sunny ledge. The symbolism is undeniable: Here is a man who kills people for a living but harbors a gentle soul and even a strict code of professional ethics ("no women, no kids").

Co-star Gary Oldman is chilling as a psychotic, corrupt DEA agent with a habit of popping pills right before his crooked team's various raids. And in her first major film role, Portman gives an intelligent and surprisingly mature performance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media tends to portray "good guys" and "bad guys." Are real people either all bad or all good -- or is it more complicated than that? How do you feel about the movies' tendency to portray gangsters' and criminals' "sensitive side"? Does that excuse their bad behavior?

Movie details

  • In theaters: November 14, 1994
  • On DVD or streaming: February 24, 1998
  • Cast: Gary Oldman, Jean Reno, Natalie Portman
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Studio: Capitol
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 109 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: scenes of strong graphic violence, and for language.
  • Last updated: September 22, 2019

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